Or can also be called ‘What Cousins Do When They Get Together’.
I’ve mostly had night stays with a specific set of cousins more than others. This group includes four sisters (including me) and one brother (he maintains his individuality very well indeed. No need to feel sorry for him). The ages are extremely varied. I’m 20 (Author shall take a moment here to mourn the loss of her childhood and envy all teenagers), next sister (of the SMS fame. I shall call her R) is 18, her younger sister (M) is 13. Then their first cousins are T (our bro) who is 10 and his younger sister (the tiny K) who is 8.
See how varied? So it’s quite a circus when we all get together. There is a lot of shouting, uninhibited laughing, pulling of weird faces, teasing, hugging, poignant moments of ‘Do you remember?’, some more laughing, scolding, irritated quarrels (which are 2 minutes long), acting grown-up and a helluva lotta fun. The rooms look like a whirlwind passed through, though it gets settled down with time.
Let me talk of this one specific time, which was when R & M were here in Delhi from Kolkata for some time. So we were all together once more after quite a while. But it’s always like we met just yesterday…it takes such a short period for the madness to begin. So anyway…this time, I’d gone over to meet them for a few hours or so. My mom wasn’t too well, so it was only me who went while my dad stayed back with mom. So I reach and am engulfed by the brigade. We’re chatting and shouting. Then somebody (I think it was R) suggests the bright idea that I should stay over for the night. I hmm and haw, thinking whether I really can. I have no change of clothes; in fact I have nothing except my cellphone. But that hardly matters! Because R can lend me her night clothes, I don’t really need anything else. So won’t I please stay? In the midst of all this, T & K’s dad (my uncle) comes in, hears the conversation and leaves after simply saying, “You’re staying”. At this point of time, I decide to be a good daughter and call my mom. R takes the responsibility of convincing her; for good measure R even passes the phone on to her mom so that moms can decide. Then the phone comes back to me. As I tell the driver bhaiya who’d driven me over, to go back without me, I can hear the distinct whoops of joy and celebration from the gang. That moment became a special memory :’)
Later, we get to know that T & K both have tests in school the next day. As it’s an English test, we (R, M and I) act very knowledgeable and act like indulgent elder sisters and say we’ll help them study. Very soon however, R and I are jabbering away nineteen-to-a-dozen, while T and M get bored and start napping while listening to us talking about boring stuff. Suddenly, at 8:30ish, I remember the matter of the exams. We wake T up.
Me : Don’t you have to study?! You should get up now!
T (opens eyes sleepily and mumbles something. Goes out of room)
Me and R (congratulate ourselves on having done a good job)
So, now R, M and I continue talking about stuff and wonder where K is. She emerges shortly, having changed into some comfortable night clothes and her hair tied back. She has also got her books notebooks. She shows us her syllabus for the test and we enthusiastically start quizzing her and explaining whatever she’s confused about. During this, I have to stop R from going into a philosophical discussion of existence while she tries to explain to K how ‘is’ is a preposition.
R : ‘Is’ here shows position because…it is. It exists there
Me : Seriously? She’s 8 years old *exasperation*
At this point of time, I voice my concerns about whether T has started studying or not. K calmly informs me that T is actually in the next room. With a cry of surprise, I go there to find that he has happily gone to sleep on the sofa again. I nudge him.
Me : You have a test tomorrow, right?
T (mischievous smile with eyes closed)
Me : Do you know what time is it? It’s 10:30!
T (sits up in slight alarm, eyes half-gummed together in sleep, and goes upstairs to get his stuff)
He comes downstairs again, looking geeky with specs and carrying nothing but a syllabus (as opposed to his sister’s syllabus sheet, grammar book, literature book, notebook and pencil box). We (R, M and I) now divide up responsibilities and stop obsessing over only K. T, of course, acts very difficult and keeps making jokes. We finally manage to get him started on practicing letter-writing. Very soon however, we admit defeat as everyone is too sleepy. T & K go off to sleep. M goes into a short-lived depression because she can’t sleep with R and me (because she believes we’re going to chat till the wee hours). So then, lights go out. R & I chat about everything from World War II to Stephen Fry to hypocritical people to the education system. After a while, our passionate discussions grow silent as we begin dozing off. We kick each other a few times to reclaim some space on the bed, and then we are lost in the Land of Nod.
I get up first and then nudge R awake. We groggily get up and about. M comes in to tell us how she spent an eventful night with a stomach ache and kept pretty much everyone except us, awake. We have breakfast and then chat some more. We listen to songs on our cellphones and then exchange a few. Very soon…too soon…it’s time for me to go back home. And thus with a last hug, we part. Till next time then!
I love these guys <3